Michael Urie's wish list of dream roles is as long as his arm -- and at 32, the North Texas native has already checked a lot off the list. Starring on Broadway in How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying? Did it. Angels in America? Did it. Starred in a hit TV series ( Ugly Betty)? Yep. Now, in Partners, Urie is living out another fantasy. He's starring in the kind of high-energy, multi-camera, laughter-from-the-studio-audience sitcom that he watched and loved as a kid growing up in Plano. "This is the genre I've always wanted to do," he says. The CBS comedy, premiering at 7:30 p.m. Monday, is about longtime best friends and business partners, one gay and one straight. As Louis, the gay half of the duo, Urie is a scene-stealing force of nature.
1 Louis is flamboyantly larger than life. He's spontaneous, emotional and quick with a quip. Is there a lot of you in this character and a lot of the character in you?
I try to bring a lot of myself to the character, but the truth is that David Krumholtz and I are playing sitcom versions of our writers, David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, who are best known for creating Will & Grace. They have been writing partners for more than 20 years, best friends for longer than that and they are putting themselves into these two characters. So mostly I just look at Max for inspiration.
2 This setup means you won't be one of those actors who declares to the writers, 'No, no, no. I would never do this. I would never say that.' Right?
Not when the writer is the real-life Louis. This isn't the kind of character where I would say, 'I wouldn't do that' anyway. Because I would never do most of the crazy things Louis does.
3 Was there a pivotal moment in your life when you decided to become an actor?
I was involved in speech and drama in high school. For a long time, I wanted to be a theater teacher. But one day I was performing at a speech competition where I thought I was doing something dramatic and the audience started laughing. I thought I was giving it my best Russell Crowe drama and suddenly they started laughing at me. As I continued the performance, I decided if they wanted it to be funny, I would try to make it funny. By the end, I was just killing them. And I won the competition. That was the moment when I thought, 'Maybe I do want to be an actor.' And the rest is history.
4 How big do you allow yourself to dream for Partners?
I will allow myself to dream big as long as I dream tiny as well. This is a phenomenal opportunity and it could be life-changing. There are billboards of me and the rest of the cast all over L.A., which is crazy huge and very exciting. But I'm also always aware that it could all go away in a heartbeat.
5 Any concern that you're checking off too many dream jobs from your list too quickly? After all, you don't want to run out of career goals, do you?
Oh, don't worry about that. I'll make a new list.
-- David Martindale,
Special to the Star-Telegram